Author Spotlight: R.D Knighten
- Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I think I have. I learned to entertain myself with words at a very young age. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, my mom made me read the dictionary whenever I said I was bored. Of course, it all went downhill when I made friends and discovered video games, but the passion for words stayed in me.
- Were you always good at writing?
I think so. I’ve always been better at expressing myself on paper. Oh, and a little known fact about me: I invented the “Do you like me? Yes or No - Circle One,” note which is still used by 5th graders today.
- If you could work with any other author who would it be and why?
Deepak Chopra. Spirituality, in all forms, intrigues me. I’d also like to go back in time and collaborate with Mark Twain and Alex Haley.
- Have your personal experiences affected your writing or writing style?
Yes. I’m constantly evolving so growth is a common theme in my storytelling. In Heaven’s Headache, I focused a great deal on personal discovery and self-examination.
- What is one thing that you absolutely cannot live without?
- Do you have a writing spot that only you can work, like a writing cave? If so what does it look like?
I usually dedicate my evenings to writing so I usually find myself at the dinner table. I tend to flow better at the dinner table; maybe because I’m steps away from the kitchen.
- What gets your creative juices flowing?
In the morning I listen to NPR and in the evening, homemade vanilla soymilk cappuccino.
- What is one of your most favorite childhood memories?
Star gazing on top of my grandfather’s Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
- What type of character is your favorite character to write?
I enjoy writing about males between the ages 28-35. We make “not having a clue” look good. Most men this age are established and seem to have a grasp on life. Reality is, we are all a coming-of-age story in the making and we all are trying to figure life out.
- How do you conceive plot ideas?
Usually on road trips. The open highway has thousands of tales waiting to be told. Jazz music is a major mental stimulus for my ideation process.
- What are your target readers?
Well, I’ve written two children’s book for youth ages 5-8. Heaven’s Headache started out as a book for men but evolved to be an all-inclusive title. Now that it’s complete I’m focusing my efforts on adult fiction.
- Do you use real-life facts based on true stories?
Not usually. In my recent endeavor, however, perception is everything. In Heaven’s Headache I did an extensive study on the Book of Jonah. Some people perceive the Bible as a history book while others think it’s a fairy tale. Either way, the Prophet Jonah’s life has never been dissected in this manner. I basically took a 1400-word autobiography and made it easier to understand in 140 thousand words.
- Did you ever think you’d become an author?
Yeah, I’ve always known it. It was just a matter of time. I just needed to be convinced I had something worth sharing.
- What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
Well, I decided to revisit a project I’d started back in the summer of 2009. I stayed focus. I completed my first screenplay in February and registered it with the WGA. In mid-April I received an official certificate for the screenplay. I couldn’t sleep the whole night. That ignited something special in me.
- If I became a writer, what tips would you give me?
My advice would be to learn to analyze people better. Being to record conversations with your friends or eavesdrop on other peoples conversations. The things we say tell our individual story in more ways than we imagine. There’s always an idea to draw from that. Writing, to me, has become more about people and characters, their layers, and then the setting. The second thing I would suggest is to keep a thesaurus handy in order to strengthen your vocabulary.
- What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
I love that I’m not afraid of mystery. I appreciate God giving me balance, creativity, and clarity. Because of my individual struggles, I‘ve come to understand that there is purpose in suffering. Fortunately for my audience, I’ve learned to translate negative issues into empowerment via storytelling.
- What is the last book you read?
My interests are very mismatched; shout out to the Libras! I am currently reading The Prophets by Abraham Heschel (Ancient & Classical Literature), The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra (Spirituality/Theology), and Black Titan by Carol Jenkins (Biography). It’s all relevant though.
- Why do you like to write?
It brings me closer to God, the Creator. I can create worlds, give life to a character, affect lives, and evoke change through written language. Writing allows me to work within the image, or likeness, of my Creator. My biggest fear is that someone will come along and categorize my talent. I don’t want to be a Black author, nor my books to be African-American Literature. I write because it’s the only way I can communicate across communities and extend beyond margins.
- Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read? Do you limit yourself to just one or many?
I enjoy reading non-fiction and autobiographies. Real life events are cool to me. When you think about it, it’s the ultimate expression of God’s creativity – a life in retrospect. I also like social commentaries, sci-fi adventures, and business leadership books.
- What is the craziest thing you have ever done?